LANCASTER COUNTY, Neb. (TCD) — A 62-year-old county commissioner from Texas stands accused of accidentally shooting and injuring his 12-year-old grandson while officiating a wedding over the weekend.
According to Lancaster County Chief Deputy Ben Houchin, on Saturday, Sept. 30, shortly after 5 p.m., deputies responded to Hillside Events, a wedding venue, on West Denton Road in reference to a gunshot wound.
Deputies learned Michael Gardner of Odessa, Texas, was officiating a wedding when he decided to gain everyone’s attention with a “bang,” Houchin said. He allegedly pulled out a Pietta 1860 snub-nosed revolver to shoot a blank into the air. As he cocked back the hammer, it reportedly slipped, and Gardner shot his grandson in the left shoulder.
Officials transported the juvenile to a local hospital before he was transferred to Omaha to treat his injuries, which were not life-threatening
Houchin said Gardner reportedly made his own blank round, put black powder into a casing, and glued it shut. Investigators believe it was the glue that ultimately injured the child.
On Monday, Oct. 2, Gardner turned himself in, and he was booked into the Lancaster County Jail on a charge of felony child abuse.
According to Houchin, officials charged Gardner with child abuse due to the severity of the boy’s injury and because it was “neglectful to take a gun out that has blanks and fire it amongst people.”
Houchin added that investigators do not believe Gardner intended to hurt his grandson.
Gardner is listed as the Ector County Commissioner, and in a statement obtained by KMID/KPEJ-TV, Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett said, “We are glad to hear that all parties involved are safe. At this time, we do not have any information beyond what is publicly available, and our office will continue to monitor for updates.”
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